The Content Byte
I have teamed up with Rachel Smith (from Rachel's List) to co-host the weekly podcast, The Content Byte, serving up weekly short bites of advice, tips and strategies for freelancers who make a living from using their words.
Just 10-12 minutes every week, these are practical tips delivered in an informal and informative way.
Episode 4: A freelancer’s guide to pitching – our tips
In this episode, we talk pitching – why it’s important to do it, researching markets before you pitch and the many (many!) different types of content or services you could pitch right now. We also look at how often you need to follow up on your pitches, and the importance of having a system for monitoring your pitching efforts.
Episode 3: 6 ways to start future-proofing your freelance business
Work or no work, there are a number of things you can start doing now to future-proof your freelance business. In this episode, we talk about how to navigate the new landscape by expanding your network, reaching out to clients, upskilling and much more.
Episode 2: Survival mode and adjusting to the new normal
It’s easy to get bogged down in despair while in lockdown and feeling like your business is in free fall. But taking steps now to sort out your finances and start thinking about getting your business hat on is what freelancers across the board need to do. We talk about how our week has been and how we’re adjusting to the new state of play.
Episode 1: Freelancing during a crisis – our tips
This week’s events have left people reeling as the world copes with the effects of the coronavirus, or Covid 19. Freelancers in particular feel vulnerable as industries shut down and we all struggle with the uncertainty that has come with this medical crisis. In this week’s episode, we share our thoughts about how to cope, how to help your clients – and how you can find work in a time when it feels like the world has gone mad.
Episode 12: Social media for clients – should you say yes?
For freelance journalists used to long-form writing, taking on social media gigs can give you pause. You might not be sure if you can write bitsy teasers, do hashtag research or check insights on the daily – while others may welcome the change in pace and different style of writing that’s required. In this episode, we talk about what can be involved with ‘doing social’ and how, if you use your time effectively, you can use social media gigs to plug the gaps between long-form work.
Episode 11: Can public speaking become another great income stream for freelancers?
If you’re an established freelancer, public speaking can be a fantastic way to boost your reputation and position yourself as an expert in your field. It can also help bring more work your way and – kaching! – make money. In this episode, we talk about different kinds of public speaking, what public speaking pays, how to get over ‘the fear’ of speaking to an audience, and where to find public speaking opportunities.
Episode 10: Anatomy of a great piece of content (and how to create it)
Writing a good piece of content can be quite different to penning a feature for a magazine. In this episode, we look at how to choose a topic, perform basic keyword research and write a decent headline. Also covered: writing metadata and the call-to-action (CTA) – plus the resources to help you do all of the above!
Episode 9: How exercise can make you a better freelancer
It’s all too easy to embrace a sedentary lifestyle as a freelancer, tapping away on your computer all day. But there are ways to shoehorn movement into your day – and in this episode, we share what works for us and touch on the benefits to your life and your creativity.
Episode 8: Working in-house when you’re freelance – should you?
A lot of us start freelancing so we never have to darken the door of an office again – but what if you miss working alongside a team? Or crave a regular pay-check? Taking occasional in-house stints as a freelancer CAN be hugely beneficial for your cashflow and your visibility (often bringing you more work or new clients). Of course, we touch on the downsides too and other considerations to think about before taking an in-house gig.
Episode 7: Should freelancers work for small businesses or steer clear?
It’s the million-dollar question for any freelancer – do you only chase high-paying clients, or take on the often more piecemeal work offered by small businesses? In this episode, we share the pros and cons to working with small businesses, our own personal strategies around this income stream – and tips for making it work.
Episode 6: How sending newsletters can bring you more work
While you might think your clients are hanging onto your every word on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, newsletters are a far superior way to stay in touch (and bring you more offers of work). In this episode, we touch on why newsletters work, platforms to create your newsletter on, lead magnets and more.
Episode 5: Packaging your services as a freelancer
As a freelancer, you’re going to be much more indispensable – and frankly, richer – if you take the time to educate clients about what they need (beyond what they think they need). Doing this is a way of adding value, making your client’s life easier and helping them get a better return on investment. It can also create opportunities to talk about other services or packages you offer. In this episode, we talk about the kind of services to package, and how to do it.
Episode 4: PITA clients – how to spot them and manage them
Most freelancers will stumble on a PITA (pain in the ass) client or ten. These clients may quibble over your rates, try and renegotiate your services, query your invoices or encroach on your personal time (and that’s just for starters). How can you spot PITA clients – and manage them, if you end up working with one? We share our tips in this week’s episode.
Episode 3: Your guide to negotiating retainers with clients
Do you have a client offering you a regular amount of work? It might be worth negotiating a retainer arrangement. In this episode, we talk about how to structure these arrangements and what you need to be aware of.
Episode 2: Why you shouldn’t worry about downturns as a freelancer
The peaks and troughs of freelancing can be overwhelming – so how do you handle them? What should you do during a slow patch? And are economic downturns something to fear? Not necessarily, as we talk about in this week’s episode.
Episode 1: Common website mistakes (and how to avoid making them)
If you’re a freelancer, how well does your website / online portfolio work for you? Does it bring in traffic? Convert leads? Is it something you’re proud to share with clients? If not, don’t stress – it’s not as hard as you might think to improve your website’s look’n’feel and make it more user-friendly. In today’s episode, we run through a checklist of common website design mistakes – and what you can do to fix any that pop up on your site.
Episode 12: How to boost your productivity (to make more money)
Moving from an in-house role to a freelance one is a MASSIVE change. Suddenly, time is money – and productivity is all important in order to make the income you need to get by. In this episode, Lynne and Rachel share their time-saving tips and tricks
Episode 11: How to escape the under-charging trap
It’s all too easy to undersell yourself when you’re freelance. You want the project, and think quoting a little lower is going to do the trick. But sometimes, under-charging can backfire – and actually lose you work. In this episode, we explain how and why you need to price yourself accordingly.
Episode 10: The skills you need as a content writer
Once upon a time, journos simply had to file their copy and that was that. These days, you may be asked to do quite a bit more, especially if you’re writing for digital outlets. Find out what editors and clients tend to expect from content writers these days (and where you might need to upskill).
Episode 9: Finding new income streams as a freelancer
Does reinvention scare the pants off you? You're not alone. Most freelancers find their comfort zone, stay there - and hope the work keeps flowing. But at some point, you may need to use your skills to edge into other areas and embrace new income streams - and in this week's episode, we talk about doing just that.
Episode 8: How to keep content writing clients coming back
What makes you absolutely indispensable as a freelancer? This week’s episode is all about our strategies for adding value, solving your clients’ problems and using your knowledge for suggesting other ways to improve their content or their business (and score yourself more work at the same time).
Episode 7: Why networking is essential for freelancers
First up, we just want to say that this episode has a few technical difficulties at the beginning with the sound – but hang in there. Lots of great info about why freelancers should network, how you can network, and the happy knock-on effect: more work coming your way.
Episode 6: How to find experts and case studies
Finding the right experts and case studies for stories – or the right PRs who can get the ball rolling – can be tricky. In this episode, Lynne and Rachel share the websites and resources they turn to when expert quotes or a great case study is required. Our show notes PDF lists all the resources, so don’t forget to download it at the end!
Episode 5: Here are a few of our favourite things
Finding the tools, services, websites and apps that save you time and help you work more efficiently is essential when you’re a freelancer. Here are a few we’ve found over the years and use consistently to get the job done.
Episode 4: What do editors and content clients want?
Filing great copy is a must if you want ongoing work as a freelancer – but are there other ways to ensure editors and content clients keep coming back? In this episode, we reveal what works for us and what’s generally expected these days in print and digital.
Episode 3: Let’s talk money (without freaking out)
Whether you’re quoting on a project, thinking about raising your rates with clients or negotiating for a higher word rate with an editor, talking about money with ease is a critical skill for freelancers. In this episode we talk about researching market rates, figuring out YOUR rate and how to become more confident discussing dollars and cents.
Episode 2: How to find content writing work
If you’re starting out in content writing or have hit a slow patch as a freelance writer, it can be hard to know what to do and where to turn (hint: it’s NOT to low-paying content mills!). In this episode, we talk about the way we use our networks, leverage social media and employ other tricks in order to land regular, ongoing content writing work.
Episode 1: Hey ho hello! Welcome to The Content Byte
Hosts Rachel Smith (from Rachel’s List) and journalist and content writer Lynne Testoni are serving up weekly short bites of advice, tips and strategies for freelancers who make a living from using their words. We’re shooting for 10-minute episodes, but can’t promise anything because we can both talk the leg off a chair.